We were set to get a new teacher but before that, the class went home for the Easter break half term.
If I remember rightly we got 2 weeks of vacation time and I had received a call from dad.
He wanted to take me up to Scotland for a family holiday and to get out of the city for a while.
I had never been there and to top it off it would be a good getaway and I would get to spend quality time with dad.
I was to find out it was a family break and Sandy was going as well. She was bringing Rheanna who I have spoken about in an earlier blog.
This was Sandy’s niece and Tracey’s daughter. My granddad Jack was always there as was my uncle, George.
I found out George had been living up there for about a year and we would be staying in his place which was out of the city and close to the highlands.
This would be the last time I would see my uncle, George. He is still alive and doing ok from what I’ve heard but all of my dad’s brothers seemed to fall out with each other at some point.
Then some would be talking to others and not the other brothers and there was a lot of bad blood.
I’ve been in similar situations like this as no matter who is right nothing is ever resolved.
You have to remember as well this was the 80s and men were not exactly known to talk about their feelings especially back in those ancient times.
Things have not changed much in that department either which is sad.
The world seemed to be a much bigger place back then due to the fact there were no mobile phones nor was their internet. So George moving away and everyone falling out with each other was a lot easier back then.
Granted you can still block people on Facebook and disconnect from them but it’s much easier to get back in touch or get a message to them through a mutual friend.
All George would have to do is change his landline number or better yet just don’t answer the phone.
I’ve heard so many stories from the 70s and 80s where a man would leave his wife and move 10 miles away and start a whole new life.
They would bump into each other 10 years later and have no idea they were so close the entire time.
Good luck with that with the invention of smartphones and social media in today’s world but as I’ve mentioned numerous times the world we live in now is very different.
I should also stress that I’m not taking a side about what happened and I don’t know exactly why everyone fell out. There was been many stories told and everyone feels like the wronged party.
Luckily I keep myself out of all this as I have enough of my own problems.
I’ve no idea what George is doing or where he’s living now all I know is he’s still alive.
When I was in Kosovo and was in the newspapers he got my address presumably from my dad and he sent me a letter asking if I was ok and told me if I needed anything to let him know.
I was happy to hear from him as at the time it had been ten years. On top of that if you ask any soldier who is away on deployment getting mail is the best thing ever and great for morale.
So I wrote him a letter back telling him what I was doing and I was ok and a brief overview of the past 10 years.
Unfortunately, he never responded and that seemed to be the end of that correspondence.
Having said that stranger things have happened and maybe he will read this and make contact. It would be nice to make contact again as tomorrow is promised to nobody.
This would also be the last time I would spend with my grandad Jack. When I was a baby we had a good relationship and had spent a lot of time at his house playing with his dogs and he and Betty my other grandma were always good to me.
When Carol and John broke up the relationship with my dad’s side of the family dwindled.
I’ve spoken about this in detail in earlier blogs so no need to repeat it now.
I had no relationship with any of them which unfortunately has carried on until now.
Luckily because of Facebook we still chat but without this, we probably would have never spoken again.
So I didn’t know that this would be the last time we would have any time together and when your a kid you think you have nothing but time.
It’s only when you get older you start to realise you have a limited amount of days on this earth which is another reason I do my best not to get involved in bullshit.
You think about these things a lot more as a soldier and when you write your own will at 19 then this opens your eyes to how unforgiving the world is.
I remember about a year after the trip my dad came to pick me up and I asked him if we could go to the cinema and right away he told me no.
When I asked why he told me I had to go and see Jack.
We drove up to Skem and I found out on the way up there that he had cancer and had got it not long after the Scotland trip.
I wish I knew this but the family was estranged firstly and secondly, men didn’t talk to each other the same back then like mentioned earlier.
It would have been nice to have spent more time with Jack but everyone is the same when it comes to dealing with death.
They don’t believe that it’s happening until it’s close to the end.
I think denial is a part of the grieving process. Nobody wants to say my dad is dying so they go on about their lives as normal convincing themselves that it will change.
Unfortunately, Jack had drunk heavily for years and also smoked like a chimney so it didn’t take long for cancer to take him and within a year he was gone.
I went to Jack’s house with dad and spent the day with him.
He was on some serious pain killers and was putting a brave face on things.
It’s difficult at the best of times to hold a conversation with someone who is sick but when you know that’s the last time you’re going to see them then it becomes a case of trying to act normal but not forgetting to say or ask everything you want to know.
We left him after a nice day together and we found out he died a few days later.
As shit, as it is to lose a family member at least we got the day to hang out one last time like things were normal.
This is what people want when they are dying they want everyone to treat them the same and then they can reminisce about when the time was just an illusion to them and their biggest worry was what they were going to wear on a night out.
The week in Scotland went by very quickly and we all had a great time. I did not take into account how cold it was there but George’s house was so warm.
We had some nice days out and in the night watched movies before it was time to drive and go back to school.
School holidays always fly by especially when you’re younger and going back to school was never welcomed after so much rest and recuperation.
This was also when school started to become problematic to me due to my dyslexia.
It didn’t help with some of the horrendous teachers I had over the years as well. Many of them didn’t care about education or development they just wanted the paycheck and the pension and to try and throw their weight around with children which said a lot about what made them tick.
The teacher we got Mr. Moore was no exception to this but this guy was one step beyond all of this.
I don’t know the exact story behind this but I know he had to resign from another school under a black cloud.
I think it must have been a case of if you don’t resign we will fire you or investigate you.
So he came to our school and was under the microscope but still allowed to be around children which baffles me even by 1980s child protection standards.
He was an old guy about 60 but like many men of his generation, he looked his age.
Back in the 60s 70s and 80s, the only people who trained regularly were athletes and boxers. Now so many more people take care of themselves but back then this was an alien concept.
The men would spend their nights in the pub and the woman would be at home taking care of the children and doing the housework.
I’m so glad this has changed but that’s how it was for years.
So he looked his age and he always smelt of tobacco or mints which in hindsight would be to try and mask the smell of tobacco.
He was a real old school teacher with little regard for any of us kids and any chance he got he would stand in front of the class and shout at us for really serious things such as talking to each other or coming in from the playground noisily.
He also had a very unhealthy interest in our classmate Luan Howitt.
Luan was my buddy and me and he was close through school.
I haven’t seen him for years as people drift apart when they leave secondary school.
He was on my Facebook for a while but then he came off it so who knows what he’s doing but wherever he is I wish him well.
He lived around the corner from me in Woolton so we would always be playing in each other’s houses.
His mum Janet was a French teacher at Gateacre comp as well so we had a good healthy relationship for many years.
So Luan become the class golden boy and we would ask Mr. Moore a question and he would just rant or shout at us for being stupid.
Once in a while, you would look up and see him looking longingly at Luan.
Then he would go over and start talking to him and since we were all sat in silence everyone’s attention is to where the noise is coming from.
He would be stood over his desk chatting to him for a good ten minutes and if he saw any of us watching he would start ranting get back to work right now and then continue talking.
Obviously, as kids, we didn’t realise how inappropriate this behaviour was and it was to only get worse. A couple of times he would come in with a toy car or something along those lines and give it to Luan.
Oh, I was just out and saw this and thought you would like it.
Luan was just a kid and like all kids just thought wow what a nice guy and was happy to be getting attention from an adult.
Things with Mr. Moore and the class got worse he would give us work to do with little explanation.
On top of that due to my dyslexia, my handwriting was awful and he told me at every opportunity how hopeless I was.
It wasn’t just me who got this treatment there were many others as well we were just made to feel like the stupid kids.
This continued and I started to dread going to school as every day there was something else that would piss him off and I wasn’t learning anything.
Granted education has changed a lot in the past 30 years but it still baffles me how people thought standing in front of a class shouting at kids then getting them to copy off the board is the best way to learn.
So I remember this one morning going into class and I didn’t have a pencil and asked Mr. Moore could I borrow one he then goes into a full meltdown calling me hopeless and shouting at me for a full five minutes.
Maybe he thought I was trying to steal Luan away from him god only knows what was going on in his mind.
I know this sounds so naive now and clearly, I didn’t realise this was inappropriate but I remember thinking wow if only Mr. Moore liked all of us the same way he like Luan things would be OK at school.
Read into this what you want but I think he loved children but not in a healthy way and Luan was the top of his list.
The morning was spent as usual with me copying off the board and trying to figure out something with no help.
If any of us talked to each other we would be screamed at so I remember being so happy to hear the lunch bell.
The afternoon came and we came back into class to find lots of big drawing paper on the desk and we were doing an art class.
I can’t remember the project but I remember I thought I will need a big ruler to do this and like an idiot, I asked Mr. Moore.
This meltdown was even worse than the morning one and I was tired of this and so fucking angry.
About 3 minutes into the meltdown I launched all of the paper on my desk onto the floor and he screamed at me to go and see Mr. Owen the headmaster.
I was scared to get into more trouble so I decided to just walk around the school for as long as I can then go back in about an hour and tell Mr. Moore I had been seen by the headmaster.
My timing was horrible and Mr. Owen caught me doing this and asked me why I was walking around out of class.
I told him why I had been sent out and Mr. Owen didn’t know any of the background information so I ended up getting a huge bollocking and sent back to class.
I got back to class just as the art lesson was finished and then we continued to copy out of books which was a welcome change from copying off the board.
I went home that night in the worst possible mood and mum asked me why I was so unhappy and I told her everything.
She was appalled and disgusted. Granted she didn’t know any of the stuff which was happening with Luan but the treatment I was getting alone made her angry.
There was no education about grooming back in the 80s so that’s why I didn’t tell mum about Luan and what was happening in full view of the class.
It was only years later when you think back and say wow that’s not OK what a scumbag that teacher was and how this would not be allowed to happen in modern times.
Mum went up to the school the next day furious and was taking no prisoners with Mr. Owen the headmaster.
Now I don’t know the exact parameters of what had happened in the past but I think there must have been some serious dirt on Mr. Moore.
There would normally be an investigation and many steps before a teacher was fired but they fired him very quickly.
I also imagine by the way he was acting that many parents complained. The only person he was nice to in the class was Luan.
He never shouted at the girls but girls are usually a lot better behaved than boys.
So I didn’t know all of this had happened as a kid but I remember going to school the next day and just before the lunch bell rang Mr. Owen he the headmaster came to our class and told Mr. Moore to come and see him at lunchtime and it was urgent.
None of us knew Mr. Moore had been fired and the next period was like no other.
It was not a free for all but all of the kids were chatting amongst ourselves but nothing was happening.
Normally within a few seconds, we were being screamed at but our teacher was just stood there defeated like his life was over.
We went on afternoon break and came back to class with two hours to go before the end of school then everything became clear.
We filed back into class and Mr. Moore explained everything to Luan.
He told Luan he was so sorry but he couldn’t come back to teach him anymore.
Luan was just as confused as the rest of us as none of us had any idea what a paedophile was or this was not OK.
So Mr. Moore then became emotional he was stood wiping tears from his eyes telling Luan he was going to miss him and that he was devastated that he wouldn’t see him again.
Luan at this point was a little uncomfortable but wanted this moment to end like the rest of the class.
Mr. Moore told Luan he was sorry and if he knew he was leaving today he would have bought him a present so he could always remember him.
Mr. Moore reached in his pocket and handed over all of his change which was about 7 quid.
Oh, thank you said Luan confused and Mr. Moore told him to buy himself something nice.
Mr. Moore then nodded at all of us and the tears were free-flowing now and he walked out of the classroom leaving us all unattended.
He had to walk out of the front gate and he kept looking back with tears in his eyes and the two-minute walk took him about ten minutes.
Maybe in his fantasy, Luan would come running out and they would have a tearful goodbye and a long lingering kiss like at the end of the movie the bodyguard. See the video below.
Unfortunately for Mr. Moore Luan was 10 and had no idea what was going on so he left the school never to return.
We still had two hours until the end of school and we all just started talking and having fun.
We were not happy nor sad we didn’t understand what just happened until years later.
After about an hour of getting louder and louder, Miss Brookfield walking past came into class asking us why we were so loud.
She quickly saw we had no teacher and figured out what had happened. She had her own class to attend to so told us to keep it down.
She told Mr. Owen but an hour to go we were just left to chill out most probably as there were no spare teachers to supervise us.
We went home as normal and only learned the next day that Mr. Moore was gone.
Miss Brookfield again picked up the mantle and we had a new teacher coming in the next few days.
The school was still fucking awful but at least Miss Brookfield cared and she did her best for us probably without thanks or any extra pay.
It’s not even about money but the number of extra work teachers is expected to do without any thanks is shocking.
It would be at least thirty years before I found that out for myself.
things were very uncertain but we were all interested in who would replace Mr. Moore.
Granted we didn’t get another sexual predator but who we got was only marginally better. Until then it was nice to be back under the care of Miss Brookfield.